From the internationally bestselling and prize-winning author of The Song of Achilles and Circe, an enchanting short story that boldly reimagines the myth of Galatea and Pygmalion. **Featuring a new afterword by Madeline Miller** In Ancient Greece, a skilled marble sculptor has been blessed by a goddess who has given his masterpiece – the most beautiful woman the town has ever seen – the gift of life. Now his wife, he expects Galatea to please him, to be obedience and humility personified. But she has desires of her own, and yearns for independence. In a desperate bid by her obsessive husband to keep her under control, she is locked away under the constant supervision of doctors and nurses. But with a daughter to rescue, she is determined to break free, whatever the cost... _________________________ Praise for CIRCE 'A thrilling tour de force of imagination' Mail on Sunday 'A bold and subversive retelling' New York Times 'A novel to be gobbled greedily in one sitting' Observer 'A remarkable achievement' Sunday Times
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Galatea is an incredible short story. The story is based on a Greek tale Metamorphoses. A (male) sculptor creates a (woman) sculpture so beautiful it comes to life and they live happily ever after. She has no agency, nor a name.
Millers version is told from the woman’s point of view living with a controlling man. It feels like it could be a Colleen Hoover story, yet keeps its fantastical tone of Millers other works.
The afterward mentions hits on the theme on the most direct way:
For millennia there have been men who react with horror and disgust to women's independence, men who desire women yet hate them, and who take refuge in fantasies of purity and control. What would it be like to live with such a man as your husband?
I fully admit I read this to keep up with my Goodreads goal for the year. It's also been on my to-read list ever since I finished Circe and Song of Achilles, so it wasn't entirely picked for ulterior reasons. I'm actually glad I gave this a chance, it was very short but also very engaging.
It takes the name from a Nereid from mythology, but as far as I can tell, the rest of the story has nothing to do with the actual (fairly sparse) story. It's actually more like a perspective-flipped Pygmalion, which is acknowledged by the author in the afterword and in other reviews here.
It was actually kind of a super creepy story that I expected to go a different way. I kept reading (for the half hour or so I spent with it) to find out where things were headed, and didn't even mind that it's a bit lacking in depth.
So, not only did it keep me and my arbitrary Goodreads goal afloat another week, I actually really enjoyed it. Definitely read either Circe or Song of Achilles first if you haven't yet, but this is a nice little bite-sized story after you're done with those.
The parallels between Pygmalion and volatile modern relationships are chilling in the best way.
Well I’m not exactly sure what the purpose of this was. It’s incredibly short, so I’m glad I got it from the library rather than spending money on it. It’s hard for it to not feel like a money grab. It’s also one of those “look how terrible men are” stories. It’s supposedly feminist while Galatea herself seems to lack a brain. Which, I get it, she’s a statue, but you can’t have it both ways. There was some unnecessary vulgarity I thought. It’s okay for a less than half hour read.